by Karen Takai, Sandia Ranger District
TIJERAS, NM, November 16, 2012– Sandia Ranger District will tentatively be implementing two prescribed burns, weather permitting, after December 1st 2012, the Casa Loma and Talking Talons Burns. These burns are a continuation of a fuels reduction program on the Sandia Ranger District. The Casa Loma burn is approximately 14 acres and the Talking Talons burn is approximately 80 acres.
Frequent low intensity fires are natural and necessary components of a healthy forest. This ecosystem depends on fire to promote new vegetation, enhance habitat and reduce the threat of large fire. It improves public and firefighter safety by reducing the accumulated fuels that could otherwise contribute to more intense fire behavior under hotter/drier conditions. The broadcast prescribed burning process applies low intensity fire across the forest floor to consume small debris and ground litter.
All prescribed fire activity is dependent on personnel availability, weather (including winds, ventilation) and approval from the New Mexico Smoke Management. They are based upon specific assessments, agency guidelines and safety protocols. During this burn, managers will continuously monitor weather conditions, including wind, temperature, and relative humidity. Fuel conditions including fuel moisture and the quantity of fuels are also measured. Smoke will be visible and expected to have variable affects to neighboring communities.
Fire managers make every effort to minimize smoke impacts to the communities while continuing to address the critical need to reduce the risk of severe wildfires around those communities. Tactics to keep smoke impacts as minimal as possible include canceling approved burns when conditions aren’t favorable, finding alternative uses for the debris in slash piles, timing daytime ignitions to allow the majority of smoke time to disperse prior to settling overnight, and burning larger sections at a time when conditions are favorable to reduce the overall number of days smoke is in the area.
In addition, the Sandia Ranger District coordinates prescribed fire plans with our partners in the county, city and state, as well as neighboring districts, to reduce the impact of smoke on the communities.
The public can obtain additional prescribed fire information via the following:
- Cibola National Forest: www.fs.usda.gov/cibola
- Smoke Management go to http://nmfireinfo.com/smoke-management/ or
- Sign-up for regular email notifications and updates of planned burns and wildfires: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sandia Ranger District 505-281-3304